Engineered hardwood flooring refers to a type of flooring that is built in layers; the bottom or core layers are usually made with a very inexpensive but strong plywood or something similar, and then these pieces are covered in a layer of hardwood. Engineered hardwood floors are a good choice for those who want real wood floors but cannot afford the cost of solid wood planks, as the thin top layer will be the wood of their choice but the bottom layers are the more inexpensive plywood or other option. Engineered hardwood floors also more eco-friendly, as they are only using a small amount of hardwoods that are hard to replenish in nature. If you're thinking of choosing engineered hardwood flooring for your home, note some questions you might have about this option and then discuss your choice with a flooring contractor.
1. Can engineered hardwood be refinished?
Because the top layer of the flooring is real hardwood, it can be refinished but it's usually best if this job is left to a professional. This is because that top layer is often somewhat thin and if you're not very skilled in the sanding you need to do before you refinish wood, you might take away too much of that top layer. It can also only be sanded and refinished so many times before you reach the core layers underneath. Leaving this job to a professional will ensure the floors are not sanded anymore than needed to hold the new paint or stain, allowing the floorboards to last as long as possible.
2. Can the floors be installed in a garage?
Since engineered hardwood is so durable, you might want to consider installing it in a garage, under a carport, and the like. However, note that building codes usually require that flooring for a garage, even a detached garage or carport, be fireproof and engineered hardwood typically doesn't meet these building codes. Before you install engineered hardwood in a garage, ask your city clerk's office about these codes.
3. Can engineered hardwood floors be installed yourself?
Most engineered hardwood floors come in a tongue and groove design, meaning that you can easily snap the planks in place without having to nail or glue down each piece. Since the boards are a floating surface, meaning they aren't glued or nailed into the subfloor itself, you may need to install a vapor barrier under the floor, but this too is relatively easy for any homeowner to do. This makes engineered hardwood floors a good choice for the homeowner who wants to avoid the expense of having a professional install their new floors for them.